The Washington Post has a front-page story today about Sen. Blanche Lincoln, the Arkansas Democrat and her plight as a “centrist in [the] health care debate.” According to Post reporter Shailagh Murray, if Lincoln “does not embrace the party line on the health issue, she could face a Democratic challenger in the primary, along with a Green Party opponent in the general election.” In fact, MoveOn, working with its fellow lefty outfit Democracy for America, has amassed $3.5 million in pledges to fund primary challenges against any Democratic Senator who votes against an up-or-down vote on a bill with a public option.
Murray treats this development with detachment, as well she should — it’s legitimate conviction politics. She does not suggest that the Democratic party, or liberalism in general, has become “dysfunctional” (the word the Post has applied to parallel conviction politics on the Republican side) or that Arkansas is about to become a “killing field” invaded by “Stalinist” Democrats ( to borrow from Frank Rich, the ridiculous New York Times drama critic turned columnist).
We see, then, that the MSM is capable of playing a story straight. All that’s required is that the story be about Democrats.
UPDATE: A while back, there was talk about Lincoln being challenged in the primary from the rigtht. As I understand it, the potential challenger is a friend of Gilbert Baker, who has since entered the race as a Republican, so that particular challenge may not materialize. If Lincoln votes to facilitate the public option, however, a challenge from the right-side of her party may not be out of the question.
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